My #SalesforceCeBIT Conference Highlights
CeBit Australia really got its teeth into the subject of Social this year through a partnership with my former employer, Salesforce.com - a company doing more than most I think to equip business with the right tools for their Social campaigns. The program was excellent and while I couldn't get to everything I wanted to, I did make it to enough sessions to provide me with plenty of memorable highlights (not the least of which was the Salesforce-in-Australia 10th Anniversary party!)
"Big Data is Bullshit". Following on from last week's lecture from the two Social Whiz kids of the Obama for America 2012 team - Joe Rospars and Stephen Muller - (which I wrote about earlier this week) I was this week treated thanks to the guys at CeBit to that campaign's CTO, @Harper Reed (pictured, credit CeBIT Australia). Widely regarded as one of the key components to the Obama win, Harper's contribution to the campaign - which I've talked about here on my personal blog - was a bleeding edge cloud-Social-mobile strategy which left the Republicans for dust. Arresting everyone with his insightful common sense, "Big Data is Bullshit" was the headline to a general point about how the big data challenge that he is familiar with was a storage problem and is now merely vendor marketing. The real challenge now for business is Smart Data - not "how do I manage it?" but rather instead "what does it mean?"
"Marketing is about Listening". Amid the Salesforce Keynote by - to continue a theme - President Obama's first US CIO, @VivekKundra, was a very inspiring video from Aussie retailer Lorna Jane (@LornaJaneActive) who talked on stage about how social media "turbo boosted" their business because of the way that customer feedback helped them more effectively market and sell to their customers. "Marketing is now about listening" said the CEO Bill Clarkson. It resonated with me strongly because I often feel the main focus on Social is about what you can say, but like any true conversation, it is far more rewarding when there's as much listening as talking. Lorna Jane have experienced exponential growth in the US using only Social Media platforms without any traditional advertising at all. They are an excellent demonstration of how Social Media can be a significant competitive game-changer and how the power of listening can help you connect with customers far more profoundly than by just blasting them with marketing messages.
Keynote videos can usually be very tedious and motherhood-laden but the videos shown yesterday were really quite informative, such as this one by about Trip A Deal's use of Cloud and Social to improve customer service. Taking it to another level this new video from Salesforce about becoming a "Customer Company", which makes the excellent point about how businesses must "earn" the trust of customers and on equal terms because as the narrator says, the new connected customers "understand that they have power and they have choices."
"Live in the Data". A ever-present theme in so much of the content was about the dryer, less sexy aspects of Social - analysis, reporting and measurement are nonetheless crucial to success. @WillScullyPower from Marketo partner, Datarati - described how the boardroom walls of today's San Francisco Social start-ups are covered in LCD screens displaying all manor of real-time customer data as he urged his audience to "live in the data". CBA's Social lead, @NikiEpstein was clear about this when she said "data analysis drives decisions" relating to how analysis defines direction in a constant do-review-do-better innovation cycle. She was also clear about the point that having tools that are able to track, audit and report Social conversations made her Risk Management teams far more relaxed about compliance issues.
Facebook Helen Crossley made an excellent point in her presentation with Niki (hosted by Charlie @snoutley Wood who leads the Salesforce Marketing Cloud APAC team) in comments about measurement. Don't just measure the last click to sale, she urged the audience. In addition, it is important to understand every element of the customer's journey through the funnel. She recommended A/B testing (such as comparisons of different geographies) as an example of better ROI measurement and shared Facebook's own ROI framework of Reach, Brand resonance, reaction. Track all but focus on the one that suits your objectives.
More generally, I was impressed throughout the day with the maturity of the marketplace in Social tools. Automation and scale is always going to be the challenge for large businesses as they execute Social strategies. Salesforce has been at the forefront of this since their acquisition of Radian6. A demo of the Marketing Cloud and how it can integrate CRM with the main Social channels like Facebook and Twitter in a way that uses APIs well to both analyze social data as well as draw from the customer database to automatically craft highly targeted campaigns. (Other tools also, such as this compliance and audit tool from System Partners, are also of note.)
But finally, last but not least, this Infographic makes an excellent point I have been making regularly - that Social SEO is part art, part science. The artistic side of a Social Marketer focusses on the content creation skills while SEO and data analysis play toa more scientific potential. This is the key to effective team recruitment for Social - if not individuals with both sides of the coin, then at least teams with both abilities well and equally represented.